It was a thriller that went down to the wire at Wankhede . Punjab Kings held on to their nerve to clinch a last ball win over the gallant Rajasthan Royals in high scoring encounter.
Earlier Sanju Samson the new skipper of The royals won the toss and asked Punjab to take strike first on surface that looked for batting . And it it lived up to that billing right through .
Punjab lost Mayank Agarwal early for 14. But Skipper K L Rahul was in sublime form and cracked a power packed 50 ball 91 with seven fours and five sixes . The ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle too joined the party and blasted a quick fire typical 28 ball 40 with four fours and two sixes. But the real momentum and the big total target was achieved by the brilliant cameo by Deepak Hooda . He was devastating in his 28 ball 64 with four fours and six sixes. It was Hooda’s blitz which proved to be the difference between the two sides at the end of the match. Punjab kings reaching an imposing 221/ 6 in their 20 overs .
For the Royals , and debutant skipper Samson it was tough first bowling outing . Young Chetan Sakariya was impressive with 3/31 ( 4 overs), Mustafizur Rahman was expensive 0/45 ( 4 overs), Chris Morris 2/41 ( 4 overs), Shreyas Gopal 0/40 ( 3 overs), Ben Stokes 0/12 ( 1 over) , Rahul Tewatia 0/25 ( 2 overs) , Riyan Parag 1/7 ( 1 over), Shivam Dube 1/20 ( 1 overs). Royals skipper Samson used as many as eight bowlers to halt the Punjab scoring but could not restrict them below 200.
Chasing big total needed a quick start. But the Royals found themselves in trouble from the beginning . Ben Stokes was out for ( 0), Manan Vohra ( 12). And the total read 25/2. Jos Buttler too fell for 25 when he was looking dangerous with five fours . But It was Royals skipper Sanju Samson who was running out of partners and this proved costly. Samson scored his third IPL hundred. Though he was dropped thrice Samson was simply brilliant with his range of shots and the skills he has .
Samson scored a blistering 119 off 63 balls with 12 fours and seven sixes. Needing 13 off the last over by struck a six and needing 5 off the last ball ball he went for the big one against Arshdeep Singh only to be caught on the boundary.
Royals fell agonisingly close by 4 runs . Finishing at 217/7 in their 20 overs. If only the likes of Riyan Parag 25 off 11, Rahul Tewatia ( 2)), Shivam Dube 23 hung on the result of the match could be different . But there is no ifs in cricket.
For Punjab Kings the bowlers held on to their nerve . Mohammed Shami 2/33 ( 4 overs), Jhye Richardson 1/55 ( 4 overs), Arshdeep Singh was the last over hero and bowled well for his 3/35 ( 4 overs) , Riley Meredith 1/49 ( 4 overs), Murugan Ashwin 0/43 ( 4 overs). The figures would not impress skipper K L Rahul and coach Anil Kumble
Both the sides despite playing high scoring thriller had a bad day in field with both dropping several catches. This they need to address they they move ahead